Travel insurance has always been a good idea when planning a trip. You never know when something may happen – illness, a flight cancellation, wild llamas, strikes – and it’s good to know that you will be covered. However, during the current situation, we are seeing just how important it is to get the right travel insurance to make sure you aren’t left high and dry. Nearly half of those who canceled their trip because of the pandemic ended up losing money, with airlines and hotels being the main culprits.
But what exactly should you look for when purchasing travel insurance?
Cancel for Any Reason
There are two types of travel insurance – “cancel for any reason” and “named perils.” Pre-COVID, the “named perils” type of insurance, was the most common, as it was less expensive (about 7% – 9% of your trip cost). It seemed to cover everything a traveler needed to worry about. Post-COVID, however, this type of insurance is not likely to be enough, as ‘world-wide pandemic’ is not typically one of the perils that is named.
Therefore, the “cancel for any reason” will be the one you want to look at. This type of insurance is admittedly more expensive, usually between 10% and 12% of your trip cost. However, it is much more comprehensive and will refund part, if not all, of your travel costs if you decide/need to cancel. One place you can look is www.insuremytrip.com, which lets you easily compare different insurance companies and policies.
Read the Fine Print
While ‘cancel for any reason’ insurance is the type you want to look at, you’ll still want to make sure you CAREFULLY read the fine print. Some ‘cancel for any reason policies’ have history limiting or even withdrawing coverage during epidemics or pandemics, having fine print that technically allows them to do so. So before biting the bullet on an insurance policy, make sure you get comfortable and go through the fine print, ensuring there is no policy language or exclusions allowing these kinds of sudden changes.
What Inclusions to Look For
Along with the typical inclusions, such as flight cancellations or major illness, you’ll want to check for three specific items – medical issues while you are traveling, future pandemic, and quarantines. For medical issues, you’ll want to be sure you know which medical facilities will be covered should you fall ill, either with COVID-19 or other illnesses. Will any hospital be covered? Or are specific medical facilities named in the policy? Is medical evacuation covered, and if so, how far – to Lima? The US? Your hometown? And will future pandemics be included if, god forbid, another one should hit while traveling? And if you are traveling and the country you are in goes into lockdown again, will quarantine costs be covered, such as hotel, food, or repatriation?
While travel insurance is an added cost to what may already be an expensive trip, the peace of mind knowing that you’re covered is definitely worth the price. And when it comes to travel insurance, you definitely get what you pay for. So get the ‘cancel for any reason’ policy, do your homework, and be ready for the unexpected.